Many phones have been sacrificed on the altar of iFixit so we may know what's inside them and the latest device to be demolished is the iPhone 7 Plus. There are usually a few small tweaks inside the new iPhone to obsess, but this time we have a more urgent question to answer. What took the place of the headphone jack? It turns out that there is a small piece of plastic in there now.
Apple said on the iPhone 7 announcement that it took out the headphone jack to accommodate other components. Its characterization of this decision as "brave" has rightly been dropped. Instead of getting sound through a headphone jack, you need to use an adapter or flash with headphones.
When iFixit opened the new iPhone 7 Plus, it found that the phone has more glue around the case than previous models, which are probably linked to the new water-repellent design. At the bottom of the phone where the headphone jack used to be, a larger Taptic Engine adds vibration feedback to the home button.
Where the headphone jack used to be, there's now an external grill that looks like a speaker, but it actually houses the microphone. The inner room where you used to have a headphone jack is a small piece of molded plastic that fits around the microphone (see top). The most likely explanation for this component is that it channel the sound to the microphone and reduces wind distortion. However, we do not understand. It may have something to do with the Taptic Engine as well. I'm not an engineer, but it's for sure like that you could have made room for a headphone jack in there.
In the end, the iFixit iPhone 7 Plus gave a surprisingly good repairability score of 7 out of 10. It becomes a headphone jack with a score of 0 out of 10, though.